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Spitfires, Thunderbolts, and Warm Beer: An American Fighter Pilot Over Europe (Warriors) [Paperback]

Philip D. Caine
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.00
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Book Description

28 July 2004 Warriors
In 1941, before America entered World War II, determined young LeRoy Gover signed on with Britain's Royal Air Force to fly the plane of his dreams, the fast, sleek Spitfire. When America joined the fight, he transitioned to the powerful P-47 Thunderbolt. Former USAF pilot and aviation historian Philip D. Caine has skillfully selected from the young flyer's letters and diary entries to create a vivid portrait of the kind of man who helped win the war. A story of great courage, Spitfires, Thunderbolts, and Warm Beer is a testament to the many other brave men who served.

Frequently Bought Together

Spitfires, Thunderbolts, and Warm Beer: An American Fighter Pilot Over Europe (Warriors) + Woodbine Red Leader: A P-51 Ace in the Mediterranean Theater + An Ace of the Eighth: An American Fighter Pilot's Air War in Europe
Price For All Three: 17.27

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Product details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Brassey's US; New edition edition (28 July 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1574888447
  • ISBN-13: 978-1574888447
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 12.7 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 621,214 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"Aviation buffs will smell the gunpowder." - Washington Post Book World"

About the Author

Brig. Gen. Philip D. Caine, Usaf (Ret.), has more than 4,500 hours of flight time, taught military history at the U.S. Air Force Academy, and is the author of American Pilots in the RAF (Brassey's, Inc., 1993) and Aircraft Down! Evading Capture in WWII Europe (Brassey's, Inc., 1997). He lives in Monument, Colorado.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing! 12 Dec 1998
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
If you have any interest in WW2, WW2 fighter pilots, or are just an aviation buff, this book is a must read. Written based on diary entries, letters home, and interviews of LeRoy Gover, the result is a hard to put down account of one man as he goes into the RAF and eventually into the Army Air Corps. While Gover wan't one of the high scorers of the war, he exemplifies the guys who quietly got the job done. A great book about a real hero.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The casualty figures for the years 1939-1942-3 were particularly horrendous the men who flew the airplanes in the RAF had death as their constant companion every time they took to the skies. This man lost almost all his original flying companions they came and are gone one after another. I wonder should I enjoy this grim odyssey these guy signed up for an adventure knowing full well what the price could be.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book 27 July 2013
By Bob
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
An excellent book describing LeRoy Gover's experiences during World War 2. Starting out from his first flights before the war at small airfields in the USA, through flying Spitfires, then P47 Thunderbolts, and finally instructing back home after being stood down from combat. I'd heard of the Eagle Squadrons but I didn't know that Americans were allowed to be members of the RAF itself. A great book that I can recommend.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Kevin yates 30 May 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
Although the narrative is good there is a lack of detail concerning the air combats and a lot of detail concerning leave and womanising in London it is only when the 8th AAF arrive and start flying missions that the story comes to life
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  50 reviews
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Yank Flyer in Englnd during WW II 23 April 2001
By Bob Sherwin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The book is about a young American private pilot along with many others who were recruited to fly in the RAF a long time before America entered the War. It is based mostly on his diary for the entire period from being recruited in California and starting training there until he finally returns home after more than 200 missions shortly before the war ends. In his diary the flyer includes plenty of out of the cockpit stories about interacting with the English civilians and flyers, his frequent encounters with the opposite sex, and meaningful observations about the loss of life from many types of aircraft crashes on British soil as well as those downed in combat. It's an adventure to read this book. It places you there during an intense period in WW II. The young pilot LeRoy Gover as of three years ago was in the Veteran's Hospital at Menlo Park, CA at age 83. This excellent book was written by Brig. Gen. Philip D. Caine, USAF (Ret.) who had Gover under his command during a portion of his service. I have loaned the book to two Air Force veterans, one from WW II and the other from Viet Nam wars. Neither could put it down it is that exciting and human. I had the same problem. Get it!
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kept me up two days! 3 Oct 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is a terrific memoir of a fighter pilot in WWII told through the use of letters, journal entries, and narrative. By the end of it, you know you have spent time with a true War Hero of the first caliber. LeRoy Gover is a witty, articulate writer and much information is gleaned from his journals entries especially. I opened this book at 2:30 yesterday afternoon and finished it by noon today. A page turner in the same was as a great novel. Couldn't put it down. An excellent read, and highly recommended for war researchers and aviation enthusiasts alike. Thank you Mr. Caine for bringing this man's story to publication!
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing! 12 Dec 1998
By Jim Truesdell (dinosaur@ktn.net) - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
If you have any interest in WW2, WW2 fighter pilots, or are just an aviation buff, this book is a must read. Written based on diary entries, letters home, and interviews of LeRoy Gover, the result is a hard to put down account of one man as he goes into the RAF and eventually into the Army Air Corps. While Gover wan't one of the high scorers of the war, he exemplifies the guys who quietly got the job done. A great book about a real hero.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars DO NOT buy the Kindle version 14 Sep 2011
By Davidjet - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
First, the positive reviews of this account of a Yank in the RAF, and then the famous 4th Fighter Group, are deserved, and I dont feel the need to add much to them, except to note that, be aware that the book is not written directly by Lee Gover, but is assembled from Gover's diaries, logbooks, etc by Philip Caine, who has done a creditable job. And if it is combat air action that you seek, this book would not be a top choice. It contains many entertaining stories of trips into wartime London, conveying the atmosphere of that time superbly, and, man, this pilot certainly went out with enough English girls to satisfy a whole squadron. He indicates he learned some interesting techniques in England, and I dont mean flying. His air combat accounts are as thrilling as any, when you reach them, but overall, they take second place to the dating action off-base, I feel.

What I must really do is issue a warning: the e book is a sloppy, poorly produced thing, like so many non fiction e books. Get a paperback, a library copy, anything but the ebook. While the ebook does contain some photos (amazingly, since most do not), they are about as grainy and blurry as some old daguerreotype. I cannot believe the photos in theprinted books look thus.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A personal journey shared 21 July 2007
By Andy Wright - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
It's not often you get to read the very inner thoughts of a fighter pilot but this book allows the reader just that. Leroy Gover, whose combat career of 159 missions is the subject of this book, habitually kept a diary and this, coupled with excerpts from his letters home and candid interviews with the author, really makes this memoir feel as though you're relaxing in the mess while Gover talks to you.

A California kid, Gover learnt to fly before he could drive and was an experienced flyer at the time he decided to volunteer for service in the RAF. This was before the US entered the war and is an early indication of the type of person Gover is. After training, where his enthusiasm for flying new aircraft is evident, he and his classmates embarked on a long, sometimes hazardous journey to Canada and then by convoy (the hazardous bit!) to England. Within days, perhaps hours, of landing in England, Gover is amazed and humbled by the spirit and resilience of the English civilians and this is a theme that continues throughout the book. We follow him through OTU (Operational Training Unit) where he finally gets to fly his dream aircraft - the Spitfire. He is then posted to 66 Sqn and comences flying fighter sweeps, convoy escort etc.

Gover, although aware of his abilities as a flyer, knows he has to be good at what he does to have a greater chance of survival. Through his writings and the author's clarifications and additional information, Gover comes across as a humble, yet ambitious fighter pilot. He knows he isn't invincible and more than once he doubts if he'll ever return home. He never ceases to be amazed at the situations he gets into and his love affair with the Spitfire, and the city of London and girls when on leave, is very evident.

America's entry into the war eventually sees Gover joining the US Army Air Force and eventually converting to P-47s with the newly formed 4th Fighter Group which was destined to become one of the most famous of all American fighter groups. Here, I believe, is where his personality and combat experience come to the fore. He quickly becomes an excellent leader who keeps an eye on the men who fly behind him on formation. He feels their loss greatly, as he does throughout his time in England when friends are killed.

Reading this book is like talking to an old friend who has been away for a few years. It is a candid, sometimes amusing, always eye-opening look at how these men made it through day-by-day. Once a day was over, they were always ready to put it all on the line the next.
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